Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Colombia

Newsline: New Colombian president open to moving embassy to Jerusalem

The newly elected Colombian president said recently he would be open to moving the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, potentially becoming the fourth country, and third from Latin America, to do so. Conservative Ivan Duque won just over 54 percent of the vote, beating out leftist rival Gustavo Petro’s, who took 41.7% with nearly all the votes counted, electoral authority figures showed. On May 16, Duque said at a campaign event that if elected he would not rule out “the possibility of placing the diplomatic seat in Jerusalem.”



Newsline: Colombia’s general allegedly linked to war crimes became ambassador to Seoul

South Korean President Moon Jae-in received the credentials of six new foreign ambassadors. Among them was the new Colombian ambassador to South Korea, Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragán. Rodríguez isn’t a career diplomat, but he has a lengthy resume. He had 41 years of active military service, eventually becoming commander of the Colombian Military Forces until he resigned in 2017. But what really makes him stand out is another detail: He faces allegations of participating in war crimes and supporting cyberespionage against human-rights activists. Rodríguez stepped down as commander of the Colombian Military Forces in 2017, just three years after he had taken the position. The move was unexpected: According to a report from McClatchy, it came shortly after the U.S. government began reviewing his visa rights. Neither the South Korean nor Colombian embassies in Washington responded to inquiries about Rodríguez from The Washington Post.


Newsline: Colombian embassy condemns Singapore bar named after drug lord

A bar named after Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar found itself in a tricky situation after the Embassy of Colombia in Singapore and the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) took issue with its theme. The embassy confirmed that it had sent an official note to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to denounce the three-week-old nightspot named Escobar in China Square Central. The venue features themes related to the late Colombian, who led the Medellin drug cartel known for its cocaine trade. A CNB spokesperson said that the manner in which Pablo Escobar’s name and image are being used to promote the bar is highly objectionable and runs counter to Singapore’s zero-tolerance approach towards drugs and to the Government’s efforts in preventive drug education. While the embassy declined to disclose its official note to the bar, a report on Yahoo Singapore’s site quoted the embassy saying in the note that the bar would confuse customers and justify criminal actions, and undermine the work that the successive governments have been endeavouring. The embassy also took issue with the way the bar had modelled itself after the Netflix drama series Narcos, and asked the Singapore Government to give due attention to its concern and take necessary actions to reverse this harmful image.


Newsline: Desperate Cubans seek US visas in Colombia after Havana embassy cutbacks

The once-quiet villa that houses the Colombian embassy in the plush Miramar suburb of Havana is a hub of activity as Cubans line up outside from dawn until dusk, sheltering from the sun and rain under umbrellas and trees. Colombian consul Luis Fernando Cordoba said his team was working much longer hours than usual and getting back-up to cope with higher demand for visas. The United States said it would process Cuban family reunification requests at its Bogota embassy. Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is an approximate three hour flight from Havana, and Colombia requires Cuban visitors to obtain visas. The United States has a deal with Cuba to issue 20,000 U.S. visas a year to Cubans seeking to emigrate, agreed after a 1994 rafter exodus to prevent them from taking to the sea illegally in makeshift craft. Washington issued more than 800 immigrant visas to Cubans per month from March to August last year, State Department data shows, but just 168 in September, 16 in October and 196 in November in the wake of the scaling back of its Havana embassy. The Trump administration said it had no choice but to reduce staffing, given it believed two dozen of its diplomats and family members in Havana had been sickened in a mysterious spate of attacks. A U.S. official told Reuters last week the government will not send staff back yet.


Newsline: Azerbaijan to establish diplomatic mission in Colombia

Azerbaijan is set to open a diplomatic mission in Colombia in March. This was said by Azerbaijani Ambassador to Mexico and Colombia Ilgar Mukhtarov during a meeting with Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar. He also presented the charge d’affaires of the country Ramil Farzaliyev. Mukhtarov noted that the launch of the diplomatic mission will enhance relations and strengthen friendship between both countries.


Newsline: Peru, Colombia agree to share embassies in Ghana and Vietnam

The governments of Peru and Colombia have formally agreed to share embassy offices in Vietnam and Ghana, as part of ongoing efforts to promote integration in the Pacific Alliance bloc, which also includes Chile and Mexico. The agreement was signed by Peruvian Foreign Minister Eda Rivas and her Colombian counterpart Maria Angela Holguin, on the sidelines of a Pacific Alliance meeting in Mexico City. The accord paves the way for Peruvian embassy representation at the Colombian embassy in Ghana, while Colombia will be allowed to use Peru’s embassy in Vietnam.


Newsline: Colombia recalls ambassador to Nicaragua over maritime dispute

Colombia has recalled its ambassador to Nicaragua for consultations over an ongoing territorial dispute that a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in favor of the Central American country has failed to resolve, Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said Wednesday. “We have decided to call our ambassador, Luz Stella Jara, who should be arriving tomorrow, so she can report on why it is impossible to have a dialogue with Nicaragua,” Holguin told a press conference. The ICJ affirmed last year that a series of islands strategic for fishing, the San Andres archipelago, belong to Colombia, but at the same time extended Nicaragua’s jurisdiction in the Caribbean waters, angering the South American country. Colombia has refused to abide by the decision, saying its borders must be set by treaties and not by court verdicts, leading Nicaragua to present a new lawsuit at the ICJ Tuesday. Nicaragua’s most recent suit demands Colombia respect the initial ICJ ruling, which gives it rights over 75,000 square kilometers of formerly Colombian waters. On Nov. 27, 2012, Colombia withdrew from the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement (Pact of Bogota), under which it recognized the jurisdiction of the international court. However, its withdrawal didn’t go into effect until Wednesday.